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of forty years standing. If such an agreement is not to be conclusive and binding, what is? It certainly has not been any,compliment to the purity and independence of parliament, that the family have at various periods attempted to obtain by court favour, a farther sum of money for what was so sold, and so paid for. Never however before the ministry of Mr. Pitt as it should seem, was the purity and independence of parliament in this particular put to the test; for every privy council, every prime minister, and every crown lawyer, to whom application or reference had been made, on the pretence of a claim to a farther remuneration, had without exception rejected such claim as wholly void of foundation, from the administration of Mr. Grenville down to that of Mr. Addington inclusive.
But what signifies a receipt in full of all demands of forty years standing? What signifies an act of parliament in ratification and evidence of a contract? What signifies the uniform decisions of privy councils ever since the first sale and payment grounded on the opinions of all the law officers, chief justices and chancel. lors that had ever been consulted, in the eyes of that virtuous ceconomist of the public treasure, Mr. Pitt, when a scotch friend of Lord Melville asks for a hun. dred thousand English guineas,1 and when the grant has the recommendation in form of that noble Lord, of Mr. William Dundas, and two or three others, forming a committee of privy council !!!2.1
In the debate on this extraordinary measure, Lord Sidmouth, speaking of the memorial presented when he was at the head of the treasury, said the law officers reported that they saw no grounds in support of the claim, and that in this report the privy council concurred. “ Such," says he was the situation of things “ when a change of administration took place. After " that change, the former resolution of the privy coun“cil was altered, and a new one substituted in its “ room, admitting the claims of the noble duke to be " founded in justice.” Lord Ellenborough, chief justice of the king's bench, said, “ my lords, never did t " witness a job come into parliament in a way more “ gross and palpable than the present. In a few days “ parliament will disperse, and I hope we shall not re" turn to our homes with the stigma of having passed o such a bill as that now before us; that we shall not “ thus put an end to a session, during which less of “ glorious and more of inglorious things have been ex« hibited to the world, than during any former session “ within the memory of man. Let us not, at a moment o like this, when all classes of the people are ground « down with taxes, add to their burthens by voting a “ boon to mendicant importunity. However critical
1 The annuity would seil' for that sum. 2 See Morning Chron. 15 July, 1805.
may be the times: however great may be our dan
gers, however hopeless the state of our finances; “ let us not, my Lords, like sailors, when the vessel is “ driving upon the rocks, abandon the sails, throw up « the helm, and fall to plundering the chests. Let us r rather, my Lords, by virtuous deeds, endeavour to « resist the storm, and to avert the vengeance, that “ seems ready to burst upon us. Let us, at any rate, e for that is completely in our power, return to our « homes with the consciousness and the reputation of " honest men.
« For himself he would answer as a man and a gen<tleman, that he knew nothing of the proceedings in " the privy council on this subject, after a certain pe" riod, when one of the reports then on their lordship’s és table was made by the board.”-_-" He was as ig"porant of the motives they proceeded on as the most “ perfect-stranger could he. "It had been thought by « some; 'indecent to call this a job; hewould say, if the 6 house will proceed with the precipitancy which “ seems to be threatened, they would commit as gross " and disgraceful an act as ever marked the worst of “'Tinires, A moment before he is called upon to con
isent to that stage of the bill in which it is his duty to « oppose the principle, if he thinks that wrong, a huge «.folio volume is put into his hands, so reeking froin “ the press, that it is with danger to his health he can “ hold it to read.”
“ He again besought their Lordships to pursue this “ harsh measure no further. He would even beseech “ the friends of thế bill not to turn their lordships “ aside from doing their parliamentary duty in the
gross manner now attempted. The people of this “ country have a moral sense, and can strongly feel an “ indecent injury.
To that moral feeling, then, of the people, when convened to seek redress of their grievances, let this “ boon to mendicant importunity,” refused by so many cabinets and privy councils, and condemned by so many law authorities, but recommended by Lord Melville to Mr. Pitt and by Mr. Pitt to parliament, be submit
cumstanced, and so limed, of a hundred thousand guineas to a friend of lord Melville, may perhaps be as little relished as the ministerial loan of forty thousand pounds under as exceptionable circumstances to those friends of Mr. Pitt, Boyd and Benfield. It will no doubt seem somewhat strange to an English people, that such a money-grant of Lord Melville's recommending, should at such a moment be so much respected by a house of commons: nor will it appear less strange, that such a grani so originating, should be carried with as bigh a hand in the house of lords, as when this lord of the North had his forty proxies in his pocket. What conclusion can be drawn, but that, although out of the ministry, and out of the privy council, be is not out of power! This we, certainly know, that the discoveries of the tenth report have not in any wise diminished his power over Mr. Pitt.. To say the truth, those two statesmen were made for each other; and by what power soever they were joined together, none I hope will ever put them asunder:; and that their union may be the more complete, it is to be hoped that the nation will energetically petition for the repeal of the two acts of parliament, by which their two aforesaid jobs have been sanctioned, and one of which grants them a come mon indemnity; so that when the loan job, shall be fully understood, the two compeers may receive equal justice.rs
IN pondering over a state of the nation, while those principles of government which on his Majesty's accession sprang up near the throne, are still in full force and vigour; we must not be surprized that many, even learned dignitaries of the church among the rest, have sought to recommend themselves at court, by the stupid impiety of attempting to write down the eternal principles of liberty inculcated by the immortal Locke. Í had indeed thought of naming some of these gentlemen in a note; but considering how many lawyers and others had also made speeches against those principles, and the constitution, and how many also in this reign had even drawn their swords in the cause of despotism, I desisted from my intention ; for were I to make out a catalogue of all, this single note would be longer than the rest of my book. And when men by hundreds say and do those things as members of parliament, which upon an inquest in a court of justice they would not say or do as jurors; nor in the transactions of private life. could say or do as gentlemen ; when abuse and pillage so inveterately pervade the executive offices, that according to Admiral Markham, one third part of our navy millions are swallowed by peculation; when discipline is undermined by evil example, and energy broken down by corruption ; when fidelity gives place to a daring misapplication of public money, and oeconomy to an unexampled profusion which, under a system so rotten is as unavoidable as it is deplorable; while detected delinquency, gross in its form, and infamous in its nature, finds, not an indignant prosecutor, but a conscience-stricken, servile protector, in a prime minister; shall the nation look on as an indifferent specta
To advert again to the state of the nation : when we look upon our national population, our agriculture, industry, art, and science ; when we take a view of our astonishing capacities for commerce ; when we think of our immense army, our resistless navy, and the widespread foreign dominions, teeming with wealth, dependent upon our power, what seems wanting to prosperity, to greatness, and to glory ? But when on the reverse we behold a peace expenditure beyond the rental of the whole land; when we cannot wage war without more than doubling that expence, when we feel hanging at the neck of our industry, a mill-stone of between sir and seven hundred millions of pounds sterling in weight ; when we see the vulnerability of our trade and plantations to a dextrous assailant; when we contemplate a vigilant and vindictive enemy, with a population of more than sixty millions for his armies, and all the maritime means from the Baltic to the Adriutic for his navy; and recollect the drain and dispersion of our military strength to keep our dependencies safe and subject; while the military branch of our constitution, which is not only applicable to the perfect security of our own shores from even insult, but is the true basis also of an overflowing disposeable force for foreign services, is doubly betrayed ; that is, so far as left dormant, criminally neglected ; and so far as resorted to, criminally perverted : 1 and while at the same time the marine of France is making its convalescent excursions across the Atlantic, as a healthful exercise and to recover its strength, keeping your whole navy on the alert ; and all her ports are preparing to pour at once upon you her numerous armies from a variety of points; surely, my Lord, we have cause for deep consideration! Surely we are not in a condition for alienating, by a denial of right and the grossest tyranny, a single En- . glish heart, or for relaxing, by injury and insult, a single English arm! Nor was this surely a moment for the rulers of the land to have exhibited themselves to
1 See England's Ægis : or the military energies of the empire. Published by Phillips.